The suspense is over

In case anyone was on tenterhooks about this, I actually decided to celebrate the winter holiday this year.  We made a pretty neat tree with more lights than I thought possible to put on one, topped off with a stuffed penguin.  There are gloomy days right now, even here in sunny Arizona and the lights are a welcome touch of brightness.  Though it’s difficult to see, I have small folded paper cranes among the branches as ornaments.  It’s a great reminder of light, life, and good cheer!

Along with the annual holiday story that I do with my family, I’ve also updated the anthology that we published last year.  Yuletide Lights now has sixteen stories and a fresh new look.  It’s available in eBook and paperback formats.  Personally, I recommend the paperback format, as it’s a nice weighty little volume, but the eBook version still has all the pen and ink illustrations so you won’t be missing out on anything.

The stories, as the subtitle suggests, are all heartwarming tales of home and family, both in farm and city, and sometimes with a dash of humor sprinkled in.   These aren’t stories of big, extravagant Christmasses – but rather ones where a few boughs of freshly picked holly and maybe a store-bought box of cordial cherries make or break the day.  There are little girls who dream of ponies and find out what having a real one is like, hard working moms, old houses, shabby towns and always plenty of love.  I hope you’ll decide to check it out, even if it’s just to read the sample excerpt on Amazon.



Yuletide Lights Cover 2nd edition ebook 800.png

A Book to Help Cats

Yes, it’s out!  Also, it contains a story I wrote about my own cats.  Check it out!

Completely Cats – Stories with Cattitude is Published! To say the Completely Cats team has had a roller coaster ride over the past few days would be a huge understatement. At around 10 am UK time on 21st August we announced the publication our book, Completely Cats – Stories with Cattitude, on Twitter and Facebook.…

via Completely Cats – Stories with Cattitude is Published! — Katzenworld

Abby Vandiver – Passport to Mystery

Mindflight welcomes Abby Vandiver, mystery author, who is announcing the launch of a new boxed set, and a new novel!

When did you know you wanted to write?  Abby1

I didn’t realize I could write until I got to college, and didn’t realize that I wanted to write until my late thirties. Never too old to try something new, right?

What is your favorite genre and length? Novels? Short stories? Flash

Mystery is my favorite genre. I love following clues, and trying to figure out what happens. No short stories, and no “War and Peace” length books.

What is your biggest writing challenge?

Ironing out the logic gaps. Although, I’m good at seeing them, sometimes I have to really think how to bring everything together logically.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Making my characters come alive. I usually base my characters on people I know, so translating that to paper (computer) can be fun.

What do you like to read?


Did you read a book or series that was really influential to you?

Nope. I read for fun.

What is your latest book about?

I am actually working on several books. They are all mystery books. One is another installment in my Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery series. Then, I’m starting a new series, where all the books take place in the same place, but each book tells a different story, and then I’m thinking about doing a sci-fi-ish kind of mystery book. We’ll see how all of that goes!

If you could do anything as a writer, what would you do?  

Write a million copy seller.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Yes. Get your work critiqued and find an editor. Beta readers are excellent, and a lot of them are free. All authors should utilize their services.

If you could have changed one thing about your early career as an
author, what would it be?

I would first learn the rules of writing. Who knew any existed. I just thought I could sit at the computer and punch out my story. Doesn’t work like that. So, now with learning the right way to write, I have to also get rid of my bad habits.

I can relate!  What does success mean to you?

That people enjoy my books.

Thank you for appearing on Mindflight!  I wish you much happiness and success in your career.

Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set Books 1-3 became available for pre-order on March 29!

Cozy Mystery Boxed Set Amazon

I’ll put up the link for South Seas Shenanigans when it’s out!  In the meantime, here’s a foretaste:

South Seas Shenanigans Cover

It’s the sixth installment of an Amazon #1 Best Selling cozy mystery series by Author Abby Vandiver! South Seas Shenanigans continue the adventures of amateur sleuths, Logan Dickerson, archaeologist, and Vivienne Pennywell, aka, Miss Vivee, a five-foot nothing, ninety-something Voodoo herbalist.

Fans of this series have enjoyed the unusual, rarely heard causes of death that only Miss Vivee and her new husband can recognize and this one doesn’t disappoint! Sail away with amateur sleuths, Logan, Miss Vivee and Mac as they vacation in Fiji where they suffer the shenanigans of a prankster, dance the Meke, and solve an untimely death. Oh, wait! Did I say “a” death? Make that two!

Additionally, Abby is offering a boxed set the first three books in the series. Both South Seas Shenanigans and the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set are to be released March 29, 2017. Meanwhile, Abby had only planned to write one more book in the series, but she listened to her fans and has decided to continue writing the series a little longer. Check out her website for more information.


For more information about Abby Vandiver:

Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.

Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, Book I in the Mars Origin “I” Series was an Amazon #1 bestseller. It was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She’s penned a slew of novels since then and has even more in her head. Although she writes mostly mystery, she has co-authored a historical/women’s fiction novel with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne, under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Currently she is working on several Cozy Mystery series, including the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Series which was an Amazon #1 International Best Seller and soon-to-be released Normal Junction Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series.

A former lawyer and college professor, Abby has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.

via Daily Prompt: Passport

Lenore Plassman – Other than Ordinary

Today we have an author, poet, gardener, and animal rights advocate named Lenore Plassman.  Her specialty is short stories and she writes poetry prolifically.  It’s a pleasure to have her on Friday Feature!

Diablo 3.jpg

What is your favorite kind of book to read?

All types but there must be elements of poetry and brain marbles rolling to keep my attention.  There must be scads of careful detail and delight in the literary landscape.

What is your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre- to write?  Poetry creeps into everything I scribble so I’m going with poetry.

What makes you feel most creative?

Exact here: what makes me feel most creative?  Trees and waterscapes; creeks and rivers and inlets and islands. And characters, human or otherwise; rocks and nature and trails that test my strength and of course botanicals of all sorts.

What is your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenges are my wide feet and my inability to not be clumsy when dancing.  Please do not ask me to sing.
When you were young, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was young did I know I wanted to be a writer?  No.  A teacher suggested I could write as well as read so I did then from there the people around me watched me write but never nudged me in any direction or form.  I just did so I was. A writer.

Do you have any advice for a person who wants to be a writer?

Advice for someone wanting to be a writer?  Quit wishing.  Get out and examine what is you.  What interests you. How exactly is that interest uniquely you- I do not want to read your work on green grass.  I want to read your work on how one day your Grandma twisted plaits of grass in your hair and from then on grass meant Grandma and summer. I want to read that.

Were any books or authors particularly influential to you?

Folks who influenced me: in particular.  Walt Whitman.  Hemingway.  Faulkner.  To some extent, Emily Dickinson.

What are you working on now?

I’m in a lull.  I write poetry as it flies in; recording what is around me.  I’m also working on interviewing community members and garnering articles from them.  I have never thought of myself as a journalist so this is a literary dance that stretches my horizons.  I’m enjoying the experience though I also have stage fright about it.

If you could do anything special with your writing, what would it be?

I’d like to watch a person who never thought they could ever carve out a literary gem, do that.  I’d like to see that person laugh when their loved one came back to them, delighted at their effort.  I’d like to witness that gotcha moment.  That would be nice.

Here’s a little more info about her:

Lenore’s poetry and short stories derive mostly from her love of nature and the things living in it, as well as the colorful characters she has known as child and adult.

Lenore became serious about writing at about age 8, with the encouragement of a special teacher. This led her eventually to study English at the University of Washington.

Her experience caring for animals in a veterinary clinic, living in farming country, and working in elder care adds richness and interest to her narratives.

Lenore’s creative imagination takes form in her three acre which she calls her Private World. Here, numerous pocket gardens, a cow stanchion (last remnant of her family’s farm), a hillside fountain, and other colorful surprises sharing space with chickens, dogs, cats, and a burro. A painting of Gandalf guards one shed-side, Smaug the other.

A respite is found here, for friends and visitors, from city humdrumness. Several times a year Lenore journeys to Western Washington to hike in the Cascades, study and participate in writing workshops. All of the photography shown in these pages are places she has walked and from which she continues to learn.

In Lenore’s words:

“I generally allow my work to stand up and speak for itself. Currently I am stationed in the arid side of Washington state. I am a co-CEO of a small holding. I care for various birds, a burro, gardens. My husband and I take prybars to rocks in the garden and hope for rain. And sometimes poetry worms its way out of those rocks and sagebrush. Imagery never leaves my side. Bast, the cat Goddess, reigns, clawing poetic snippets out when I’d rather She left me alone.”

Her thoughts and writings can be found here:

Her books can be found here:


Check out her most recent poetry chapbook!



via Daily Prompt: Ordinary

Luck of the Scottish – Glynda Shaw, Authoress

Welcome to another Friday Feature.  Today we have Glynda Shaw, who has written several rather interesting books.  We have both a Q&A and a short bio at the end.  Glynda, welcome to Mindflight!

How do you get inspired to write?From a Summer Sky cover 900.png

I think the thing that most inspires me to write is in reexamining my past life, I see times when things could have gone some other way or characters chance met, who may have played a greater role in my life had things been different. Rather than having a message to put across to readers, I like to create situations and characters, often based in true life and are interesting to me. Having done so, it’s great fun to see if others find them interesting and worth remembering.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is watching something come out of nothing. Writing is truly magical in for that reason.

Though we spend a lot of money on computers and other assorted contrivances, the writing process itself is imminently portable and can be accomplished, (if sometimes laboriously) with any number of implements and on everything from silicon chips to a cave wall.

Writing is to the mind what potter’s clay is to the fingers.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

I got the idea for my most recently published book Experimental College My Summer in Serendip, in the following way. It had two sources actually. I once had a roommate in college who could have possibly become more, but didn’t.

I’d wondered over the years what might have happened if things had gone differently. I also had been playing with a concept of a young, somewhat effeminate man, being attracted to a somewhat dominant male of similar age but greater experience. I imagined the less experienced guy getting advice and support from two women, themselves a couple, who lived next door, down the hall or otherwise nearby, in a dormitory situation.

What started out to be a sexual romp, perhaps with kinks, turned into what I hope is a thoughtful examination of how interests begin and end between people of various genders and how we all have the need to know parts of ourselves which have remained hidden throughout the turmoils of maturation.

Experimental College Cover 900.pngHow do you deal with writer’s block?

I’ve found a good way to deal with writer’s block is through talking with myself. Since I’m an introvert I do this on paper or more precisely, on silicon. In my personal journal I essentially ask myself what have I written about before then what would I like to write now.

When I have an idea I go on to ask myself what sort of characters do I want to introduce, in which person do I want to write; things like that.

Once underway, if I get stuck I talk with myself about a given scene or plot issue, what am I trying to accomplish here? Why is this person acting that way? What are some ways in which this situation could resolve?

Strangely enough, talking to myself about stuff I already know very often helps me discover things I didn’t think I knew (or maybe it gets a muse whispering into my ear), and I almost always come away from the process with more ideas than I had initially.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring authors is to Practice.

You can’t play the piano just by reading music books and you can’t do math unless you actually work problems.

Samewise, to write you must write. Write letters, poems, your thoughts, descriptions of things, even silly stuff. Mother hung my sister’s prom dress in my closet. Is she telling me something? Or I just found that between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, my back door opens into someone else’s house! Don’t be afraid to rewrite, in fact you might try telling a story two or three times from different perspectives.

Try to keep some kind of writing schedule. Put a certain number of words down on paper every day or three times a week or whatever schedule with which you feel comfortable. Lastly, don’t worry whether or not you’re smart enough to be a writer. Somebody of average intelligence who writes every day has it over the genius who just never gets around to putting down thoughts because there’s always so much else to do.

Besides, in my experience someone who wants to write, likes to write and actually does write, usually possesses an active mind. Your brain is a muscle and writing is the best mental calisthenic of which I am aware!

What are you currently working on?  Secret Summers Cover 900.png

 I’m working on a science fiction/fantasy novel with strong relational content, called Touching the Void Between.  It involves a blind boy who has lost his twin sister.  He is sent to a residential school to get him away from what his mother feels is an unhealthy environment at home.  The spirit of his twin appears to have accompanied him and a psychic house parent together with a shadowy group of Goddess devotees help him deal with the reasons his sister needed to return.

Thank you for joining us, Glynda!  Here’s a little more about her, if anyone is interested in learning about her and her books.

Glynda Shaw is a Seattle native, an aerospace engineer, a social worker, and an experimenter in alternative energy and biosystems.

“Currently for different reasons, I especially enjoy reading the novels of Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Downing Hahn, Lisa Jackson, Lee Child, John Sandford, Lisa Unger. There are many others of course but those are the ones I drop everything to read when a new title appears.

Throughout my life I have enjoyed and respected Poul Anderson Isaac Asimov, A Bertram Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Howard Pyle, Mark Twain. More recently; Stephen Baxter, Bernard Cornwell, S. M. Stirling and of course always, Robert Louis Stevenson.

I also read a fair amount of history, technology and science. Charles Sheffield, Freeman Dyson and Gerrard K. O’Neil and probably my current favorite writers of speculative technology.

Between Lines Book Cover tiny.pngMy writing influences are varied and include feminism, gender issues, the fact of my own blindness and cultural issues,including my Celtic background and a love of the Pacific Northwest and also of the American South. Most of my life a seem to have been a very small minority yelling about something or other and not always winning but generally remaining on my feet.

I try to root my stories in places I’ve been and can describe credibly. I’ve been known to take vacations places so I can get the setting right. I like to show my characters making independent decisions and creating lives that fit them even if not acceptable to all of their neighbors.

Those are the sorts of people I tend to like also; folks who know stuff and aren’t afraid to ask the questions “why not?” and “Why do things have to be this way?”

I like to champion things that are old but still good but also new things that are good but not just because they’re new and trendy. One of the most charming images I can think of, the author of which has been lost to my memory, was that of a young woman on a horse, surrounded by a force field actuated from the saddle; and she able to tesser from planet to planet, having extraordinary adventures.”

Join her on Goodreads, her website and blog, or on Pronoun.

via Daily Prompt: Luck

Writing Her Own Pattern: Amy J. Hamilton

For the last day of our three day author interview feature, I have an amazing and fascinating person who wrote “Modified: Lunar Medical book one.”  I really had a lot of fun interviewing her, and I hope you have just as much fun reading what she said!

Hi Amy, and welcome to the blog.  I’ll start out with something basic.  What made you begin writing?Amy Hamilton.jpg

I started when I was a kid. On holiday one year Dad produced a foolscap lined notepad and wanted me to keep a diary. That notepad turned into many hardcover page a day diaries over the years, I filled every one. Eventually I wrote on an Atari computer, then a PC. There were a few years of blogging on a forum. I wrote my first novel longhand on holiday in an A4 book some 20 years ago. I have no idea what happened to it or how long it was.

What caused you to publish, and share your work with the world?

May 2016 was the 30th anniversary of a traumatic event. I was sexually assaulted by a female doctor when I was about 14. Of course nothing was done because no-one believed me. As a way of proving I was still here and still fighting, firstly I wrote erotica, secondly I had to be published for that anniversary. There was some interest from traditional publishing, but not an actual offer that didn’t involve me paying them. So I bit the bullet and self-published.

When and how did you finish your first book?

My first erotic novel was considered for publication but ultimately rejected. I’ve yet to knock that one into shape and publish it. The first book I published-Modified was written after a short story call out from a publisher who wanted menage/multiple partners. It’s not what I’d usually write, but I gave it a go. There were things they liked about the short story, but again they didn’t publish it. The characters from that story then went on to be the focus of Modified-the book that went before the short story. It was finished a few years before I published it.

If you could give a beginning author a piece of advice, what would it be?

Enjoy your writing. Write what you want to read. Then think about all the words you habitually use when you’re talking to someone, run a search for them in your book and remove most of them. I used to have a habit of using the word “actually.” I use it all the time when I’m talking, it doesn’t need to be there all the time in my writing.

That tip was interesting, and I’ll probably use it myself!  You mentioned you have weird animals. Care to elaborate on that?

There’s some pretty standard tropical fish, nothing unusual in them. My daughter has a rainbow fire tiger leatherback bearded dragon called Cossie. My son has a baby Russian Tortoise called Crunch. She still fits in the palm of my hand. The family in general has one remaining degu called Sam. He’s a small furry animal, the same family as a guinea pig and facially looks like a cross between a hamster, a squirrel and a chipmunk. Or maybe he just looks like a degu.

Do you have a funny story about something one of them did?

I’ve had to put covers on the filter pipes in the fish tanks. I have had to tip fish out of the pipe twice over the months. The pipe is blowing bubbles, blowing not sucking, what on earth makes the fish want to try to swim down it? They can’t get themselves out again. Being a dragon, I have naturally trained Cossie to fly, speak and breathe fire and she has just recently mastered the art of laying eggs under the skull ornament in her vivarium-all without the use of opposable thumbs. Quite gifted. There was a low flying helicopter over the house last night that rattled the windows, Sam the degu didn’t stop squeaking for ages. He rings the bell in his cage when he wants to come out or get someone to give him a treat. Then he’ll run around the cage for a bit, go back to the bell, ring it, you give him a treat and he wanders off and buries it for later! These days he makes a big fuss about getting into his exercise ball to have a run around, then he sits by my feet at the sofa and tries to chew through the ball depositing little specks of blue plastic all over the carpet. Yet he has a forest of wooden things in his cage to chew on.

What’s your absolute favorite kind of coffee, and how do you like it?

Large, weak, warm with loads of sweeteners! In Starbucks mine is usually a venti skinny sugar free vanilla latte kids temperature and my friend has a black coffee. She says what I drink isn’t coffee. I’ve recently bought one of those refillable cups for Starbucks, I’m not sure it’s venti-this makes me sad! I offer coffee to clients for my other business and they all seem to like the mild Dolce Gusto coffee I buy for the coffee machine in the office. I drink mine out of a pint mug with skimmed milk and 4 sweeteners. I only have 3 caffeinated drinks a day I switch to decaf after that.

If you could do anything as an author, what would it be? The sky’s the limit. Maybe even the outer planets or a nearby star system.

I would just like to be able to write full time and make some money at it. I’m not going to be remembered in 200 years for anything I’ve written and I’m not going to win awards, but I’ve been told I’m an enjoyable read. I’d like to build on that. Then I’d like to go to another planet where I’d be world famous and earn lots of money and write from there and make friends with all the aliens.

Name one thing you wish you had known when you were a new author.

I still consider myself to be new. I wish I’d just had more confidence to publish sooner. I would have been on my third book by now.

Would you have changed anything about your writing career so far?

I would love to be in the position to afford a professional cover for everything I write. The thought of having to find and manipulate cover graphics is holding me back. I dread it. I have books and stories ready to go except that I haven’t started on covers.

What is your latest book about?

Modified is a tongue in cheek erotic novel about a team of people on a moon trying to genetically modify various groups of people for disease resistance and turn them into super soldiers. Back on their planet the world is falling apart due to a virus outbreak and war and at that point they lose communications between the planet and the moon. The modifications of the soldiers have produced varying results from completely destructive mutants to viable candidates with elevated libidos. It’s a romp! Rather than being a book thoroughly researched for the science of it, I prefer to concentrate on the characters and how they interact with each other.

What is the main character like, and what is interesting about them?

Dayton is in charge on the moon, but he has no understanding of what is going on around him. Feeling trapped he tries to find a human connection with just about anyone he can. Job wise he is me when I had a job I felt an overwhelming responsibility for but I didn’t have a clue how to do the things expected of me. Day spends time questioning the morals of the modifications and the so called libidos of the soldiers, which apparently don’t rival his own.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered when writing it?

It was originally set on our moon and on Earth. I googled some science, I even understood some of it. Eventually I realised I had no interest in writing anything out of a physics text book and made up a world to set it on so I could mess with science and not have people point fingers and say “this doesn’t happen on our planet.” No, it wouldn’t, it’s not set on our planet or our moon. I made it up! It’s fiction. And it’s not really supposed to be taken too seriously.

What are you working on now?

There’s a follow up to Modified. A team goes back to Enceffia to search for survivors on the planet. It’s still an erotic novel, but it has some dark elements of people trying to come to terms with the destruction around them. It is still tongue in cheek. There is still plenty of  sex and there is definitely a fair amount of banter between the characters which one day is going to result in one person slapping another one senseless. There’s also a short story for a Spring themed free anthology. It’s funny, weird, contains no sex and I don’t believe anyone is going to die in it! It does feature a six legged bright pink alien sheep called Jefferson. After that I have a novella called Blue Lights set in a similar world to Modified, it’s gay erotica about a medic and an accident prone cop and some dubious means to obtain credit for simple things like food. It features some flying cars. Why do we not have flying cars yet?

What is your favorite place to write? Any extras like music or a favorite beverage, or is it more like “I have time. I don’t care where I am, I will use these precious ten minutes!”

I planned a book on my phone on the plane on the way back from holiday last year. But mostly I sit on the sofa with my oversized laptop on my knees, threatening to dislodge my knee caps, completely forgetting about the coffee on the bookcase on my right. Sam the degu provides various noises throughout the day including the strange slurping noise he makes when he’s attending to various hygiene tasks.

Thank you so much for answering my questions!  If readers want to find out more about you and your work, where can they go?





Author website


And now, a bonus question: what planet are you from?

Over the years I have claimed to be from Planet Zog, Mars or possibly now Enceffia seeing as I created it. (If I haven’t left any letters out-it’s an anagram of something I like. Most of the weird words I’ve used are. I hate naming things.)

Thank you so much, Amy, for appearing on my blog!  I wish you the best in your writing career.